Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


That's No Hassle, That's Your Life

Clos Pegase, Calistoga, California, USA

December 1, 2016



"Now if you'll just take a hold of that, it will make you free."
 ... 
quoted by his brother Nathan Rosenberg to Professor William Warren Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in the account titled "The Prodigal Son Returns" in the chapter called "One Big Family" in part IV, "Completion", of "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
"The most common form of despair is not being who you are."
 ... Søren Kierkegaard
This essay, That's No Hassle, That's Your Life, is the companion piece to Not "This Too Shall Pass": "This Too Is It!".




He was successful. That's for sure. Of all the people in the pantheon of really successful people I know, he was right up there. And he had a way about him (a rough, unpolished  way if you will, but a way nonetheless) of being impatient when things weren't going exactly according to plan, a way which belied his power (that's in my opinion at least). What left him impatient and frustrated, is he didn't seem to have any tolerance ie he was unwilling to create the space  for things not going 100% according to plan. He regarded something not going according to plan as a hassle.

We talked about it one day when he came by to visit and hike. He asked me "How do you stay so calm through it all?", to which I countered "Do you think it's because it always goes according to plan with me?". "Yes" he said, "that's certainly what it looks  like. How do you do that?". "Ah ..." I responded, "so you think it always goes according to plan with me, and that's why I'm calm, so I suppose you're also assuming if it wasn't  going according to plan with me, then I wouldn't be calm, yes?". "Yes" he said, "that's it.".

"Here's something you may want to look at closely:" I suggested, "you may want to look at things not going according to plan when they're not going according to plan. You may want to look at whether or not you're including them in your life.". It's not an unusual malaise. When things go according to plan and the way we want them to go, that  (we say) is our life. But when things don't go according to plan or the way we want them to go, that  (we say) is clearly some impediment, some interruption to our life ie some hassle which gets in the way of our life running smoothly. "The trouble" I continued, "is you've dichotomized  it. In other words, you've made it one or  the other. It's either your life or  ... it's a hassle. What's probably closer to the truth, is: the true nature  of your life is in part pure hassle. See, it's still your life when things don't go according to plan. It only becomes a hassle (perhaps a major  hassle, given its tyranny) when you don't create the space to include it.".

There was ... sudden silence  - except for the swish swish swish  of the long field grasses against our jeans' hems and hiking boots. He really did go suddenly silent. I like silences like those. They tell me that something has connected ie something's hit home, something's landed. And the most pragmatic things which land are the ones we discover for ourselves in those "A-Ha!"  moments which leave us with power derived from what's so  rather than from a belief system or from feel good bon mots. "I get it" he eventually said, his head slightly to one side, nodding slowly, smiling. "The only difference between my life, and what I consider to be a hassle, is I've taken responsibility for my life.". "Awesome!"  I said. I meant it. I hadn't thought about it in quite that way. "And that which you consider to be a hassle, is already  included in your life anyway - except you've not (yet) taken responsibility for it" (the already included  aspect of it, is plain - sometimes much to our chagrin).

It went on like that, back and forth, like a jazz riff, as we hiked over both stony and grassy ground, under oak trees, past disinterested horses and cows.

Then he said "Wait! If that's true, then ...". I interrupted him: "Uh oh! Here comes the 'How about  ...?'". We both smiled. "No, really" he said, "how about eliminating  all the hassle?". I stopped walking. "Are you serious?"  I said, feigning shock and surprise. "You're human. Give it up. The best it's ever going to get for you is taking responsibility for hassles. Eliminating them isn't an option.". By this time, he had stopped too. "Man! That's powerful" he said, "Thank You!". "Don't thank me" I said, "Thank Werner.". Then I heard that swish swish swish  again, and I realized we'd re-started walking. But I hadn't noticed when. It seemed to have happened by itself.



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